Other Names of Horseradish

  • Armoracia rusticana
  • Mountain radish
  • Great raifort
  • Red cole

Useful Parts of the Plant: Roots, leaves, shoots

Horseradish belongs to the Brassicaceae family, as do broccoli, cabbages, mustard, and wasabi. Horseradish is native to Eastern Europe and the Middle East but is now grown all over the world. Horseradish is a popular seasoning in several cuisines and used to spice up and flavor dishes.

Horseradish is an herb that can grow up to 2m in height with large leaves and a stem that is branched. Horseradish is largely cultivated for its large white roots. When intact, the root of the horseradish plant barely has an aroma. However, once it is cut, enzymes are released that are responsible for its pungency. Once grated or cut, horseradish needs to be used immediately or preserved in vinegar or else it becomes bitter and unpleasant to taste.

Nutritional Information and Properties of Horseradish

Raw horseradish is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Volatile oils that contribute to its anti-bacterial properties and spicy taste are present in horseradish as well. Horseradish has zero fat but is full of flavor making it an ideal addition to various dishes. One tablespoon of horseradish has only 6 calories. Horseradish also contains carbohydrates and sodium plus a good amount of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber (manganese, copper, zinc, iron, folate, vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin). Hundred grams of horseradish contains almost 29mg of vitamin C. This accounts for nearly 40% of the recommended daily intake.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Horseradish

  • Horseradish has been used for its health-promoting benefits for centuries. The volatile compounds in horseradish thin out old mucus and prevents accumulation as well. If you are prone to sinus and upper respiratory tract infections, take a little bit of horseradish the moment you feel a cold beginning. Horseradish also reduces symptoms of influenza, colds and congestion. Horseradish flour paste can also be applied over the chest for quick relief.
  • The antibiotic and diuretic nature of horseradish stimulates the production of urine. It can also cure urinary tract infections and remove kidney stones by de-toxing the system.
  • You can apply horseradish to swollen joints and muscles for pain relief. When spread over the affected parts of the body, it can reduce symptoms of gout, arthritis, and chilblains.
  • A poultice of horseradish applied to wounds can reduce infections.
  • Eating horseradish can heat up the body internally and stimulate the immune system. Its antibiotic properties help fight of infections as well.
  • It is believed that horseradish has aphrodisiacal properties.
  • Add three spoons of horseradish tincture to a glass of water to cure stomatitis.
  • Chewing horseradish can strengthen gums and prevent disease. If chewing grated horseradish is too spicy for you add some grated carrot to make it more palatable.
  • Grate horseradish and squeeze out the juice. Have a few drops of this juice (around 20 should do) in between meals to cure indigestion and other problems of the digestive system.
  • Mix freshly grated horseradish with buttermilk and glycerine. Let this stand overnight before straining and using as a lotion for the face. Blemishes such as acne, blackheads, and freckles will disappear after regular use. It also lightens skin tone and removes and discolorations.
  • Horseradish can be used as a vermifuge to remove worms from the body.
  • Horseradish contains glucosinolates that may lower the risk of certain types of cancers. These glucosinolates prevent tumors from developing and help eliminate carcinogenic toxins from the liver.
  • The high vitamin C content in horseradish helps fight free radicals, which are responsible for aging, heart disease, and cancer.

Keep in mind that eating too much horseradish can do more damage than good. Some unpleasant side effects include nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, and stomach upsets. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid horseradish, as should children below four years.

If you suffer from ulcers, goiter or renal problems, eating horseradish is nor advisable either.

Other Uses

  • Horseradish enzymes are used in the field of biochemical research
  • Horseradish is used as an ingredient for the alcoholic beverage -schnapps - in Germany.